That’s Life

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

The Queen died. 

I had a heads up as a friend told me about her impending medical watch as we sipped iced coffees in the morning on Thursday. Hours later, Dylan texted me the news that she had passed. While I have no connection to the monarchy besides the odd fascination that Americans seem to have with royals, her passing caused me to inhale. Sadness seeped into my space. 

She was Queen when my parents were born. And now she is no longer. 

In the same day a friend welcomed a new baby girl and texts buzzed in with photos and again, my breath stilled. I flashed back to my own moment when my daughter left my body and entered the world with cries from both of us. 

And still, this morning, upon child care drop off, I learned of the passing of my great-aunt. Yes, she was old. Still, her light extinguished. 

“That’s life, Katie” my mom replied, with tears in her eyes. 

I know people die and are born at astounding rates. If we took pause for everyone, we’d be pausing all of the time. Instead, we focus on email and headlines of war and sickness and economic recession. Some of us choose to devote our energy to where we can make a difference. Why care about the British monarch when distress in America is so high? Why care about one person’s new baby when thousands are born every day?

Because in these moments, in our inhales and our exhales, are where beauty lies. 

I’ve been noodling on a post about the joy baby laundry brings me, but expanding on tiny sleeves and button-backed dresses for five hundred words feels like a bit much. While the Queen was greeting the new British Prime Minister, I was folding tiny onesies and burp clothes. Days later, she passed. This morning, while a relative passed, I was driving too and from, on my way to another day, concerned about to-do lists and arriving on time with a small child. 

In our every days we have choices to see and to notice. We have choices to pause to honor life and those that end. And we have choices to find joy as we rush from one place to the next. Baby clothes, good-byes, and hellos. Beautiful things.  

We Keep on Waiting (waiting)

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What a week to be 40 weeks pregnant. With recent news about Roe vs. Wade, and a growing child in my belly, I’m startled by jarring way America continues to treat women and children. We think we’ve come so far, and then we are yanked back to reality. I should stop scrolling headlines.

After a good doom scroll, this morning I googled “waiting song lyrics.” A few hits came up with songs that I knew. A few others had me turning over to Spotify to listen and see if the words resonated with where my spirit is these days.

In his song Waiting on the World to Change, John Mayer offers,
“Now we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change.”

In my reflections this morning, I recalled an African prayer shared at a recent ceremony I went to.

“Let us take care of our children, for they have a long way to go. Let us take care of our elders, for they have come a long way. Let us take care of those of us in between, for we are doing the work.” – African prayer

In carrying the next generation, I wonder what waiting on the world to change will look like for her. And if she, too, will have to carry signs that say, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit.” I hope not.

This time last week I was sharing that we were on the slow road to childbirth, trusting and allowing baby to make a choice on when she will come in to the world. This week, I’m feeling a bit more antsy. Not yet annoyed, but instead surrendering to the mystery of waiting on a child. People keep texting me … “Any day now” and “You’re so close.” True, but any day could be two weeks, and close to the end, yes, but also, so close to a new beginning.

In his song The Waiting, Tom Petty offers,

“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part.”

I’m relying on Tom to remember to take this experience on faith – there are greater forces at play than what I have control over when we let nature take over. As if nature needs me to let it do anything at all.

The third song writer to show up in my search results was The Rolling Stones. In their song, I Am Waiting, they share,

“I am waiting, I am waiting
Oh yeah, oh yeah
I am waiting, I am waiting,
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere

See it come along and
Don’t know where it’s from
Oh, yes you will find out.”

Waiting for someone to come out of somewhere is precisely what we’re waiting for. Spiritually, I have to have a bit of faith. Physically, we know where that somewhere is. And, I wonder who the little someone will be.

It’s odd waking up and wondering could today be the day our lives change forever? And then we go about making coffee and a peanut butter sandwich like any other Thursday. We sit down to work and we wait. This week, I’m seeking the beauty in the wondering, beauty in the mundane, and the beauty in a smudge of protein on a bit of bread. Beauty in waiting as the leaves green up, and rain soaks the ground, and ballads fill in the background noise that occupies this liminal space.

Waiting for someone ….

You’re Still Here

I looked up from my computer as I perched against my tall office chair. As the sun dipped into the trees, I smiled as the delivery man approached.

He opened the door, and interrupted a conversation with co-workers with a cheer.

“You’re all still here!” he said. “Happy post-COVID, or wherever we are.”

We laughed together and I said, “I’m so glad you’re still our guy.”

It was a brief interaction – three minutes or less. With the opening of an office door, and a delivery of a package, I was overwhelmed by the sense of community that has been missing in remote offices and isolating fear-spirals.

Yes, we were all wearing masks and trying to stand further apart than we would have before, but with a simple delivery, I was reminded of just how much we need each other.

The arrival of a delayed package, the missing remote for the speakers, the hum of a coffee machine left on overnight, spider webs collecting in places gone untouched for months. Ordinary, beautiful things, often seen as annoyances, that blur into the background of a normal life.

But things haven’t been normal.

Today, I saw my friend Jesse, our UPS man. You’re all still here.

What a beautiful thing.

That Rickety Kitchen Table

I have a bruise. A really glamorous purply, blue bruise. It’s on my left wrist, and it’s just about the size of a softball. That makes sense, because its from playing on a rec softball league, and I stopped a ball at second base and it hit my hand instead of my glove. ” Trust the glove,” a friend said. Well I tried, but it still hit me in the hand. I’ve got some learning to do when it comes to softball. “Room for improvement,” they might say.

My bruise, however, is nothing compared to what my brother has got going on. This week he had an accident on his scooter, where he got cut off by a truck, and slid on some gravel and turned the thing over on its side. Luckily he escaped with just some scrapes and bruises. Some serious bruises. Boy are those colors beautiful – yellow to red to purple – there is a rainbow in there. That’s got to hurt when he lays on his side. We are all thankful that he wasn’t hurt more seriously, and that his injuries resulted in some pain, inconvenience, and time off from work to heal. We got lucky with this one.

What was more beautiful, in fact, was what came from his injury, and I am thankful for it. Because Sam got in an accident he was staying at home; my parents taking care of him. Dylan was with friends, so I asked to come over for a free meal. This week, for the first time in many, many years we had a family dinner with just me, my brother, my mom and my dad. Now we have quite frequently sat down to share a meal recently, but there was always a welcomed addition – a grandmother, a friend, a fiancé. On Friday night, for whatever reasons, it was just us original four. We all sat at our customary places from when we were growing up – I had my back to the big glass door, Sam sits across from me next to the counter. My parents hold strong at opposite ends of the creaky kitchen table with the chairs my dad built himself and we sit on itchy cushions my mom knit years ago. It wasn’t a fancy meal, and the conversation wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but this ordinary moment felt incredibly beautiful to me.



We’ve been through a lot over the past few years, and to be honest, being all together did not always feel good. It is hard to watch those you love suffer, and we’ve all been working on so much personal growth. At times, this growth pulls us in different directions, to perhaps separate corners of the house, or separate towns or school or work while we figure out who we are going to be as individuals in the world.

We used to make fun of my mom because while I was in college she used to get teary when we could all sit down together for dinner. This time, it was me. So much of family life happens around that square little table. It’s a routine I treasure, and I am so thankful my parents made an effort to gather us each night for a meal. Even if that meal was popcorn, and cheese, and apples on Sunday evenings (Grocery day was Monday don’t ya know). It is a tradition and a value I hope to instill with my own family some day. And as I continue to grow and change and prepare to leave my family in the traditional sense, and my brother starts out his own life on his own terms, and my parents embrace that term “empty nesters” I know that I can always return to sit at that table. New memories will be made, and maybe other additions brought in, but the power of the “original four” melts my heart. I’m thankful we keep fighting for each other, and that we keep returning to our spots at the table. I hope they continue to sit by me, and bless the food, and bless each other in ways we never could have imagined.